KERANG'S women's football team will play in a new-look competition in 2018 thanks to growing interest in the sport.
The Blues will play in a newly-formed AFL Goulburn Murray competition next year after Northern Country Women's League clubs voted recently to disband the competition next year, 12 months ahead of schedule.
Eight teams competed in the inaugural competition this year, with the Blues winning two games and drawing another match in its 10-game season.
Local players travelled as far as Kyneton and Shepparton for games this season, with the eight-team league including teams from as far away as Benalla.
"The competition was set up in conjunction with AFL Central Victoria and AFL Central Murray and we committed to a two-year partnership before we would look to separate into two regional competitions" AFL Goulburn Murray region general manager, Martin Gleeson said.
"However, the first season was a success ahead of our expectations and this has given us the confidence to split the league 12 months ahead of our original schedule."
Being the only team not aligned with either AFL Central Victoria or AFL Goulburn Murray, the Blues had the option to choose to play in either of the two new leagues.
"We are the only team in the Central Murray region, so it was up to us whether we headed east to AFL Goulburn Murray or south to AFL Central Victoria," Kerang's women team manager, Nick Hunter said.
"We've decided to go east to AFL Goulburn Murray based on what is best for the development of our players.
"There are some new teams to come in, and travel times to games will be no different to what it has been this year, of if we had gone with AFL Central Victoria."
AFL Goulburn Murray's competition will expand, with a number of clubs keen to join Benalla, Echuca, Mooroopna and Shepparton.
"We already have two more Goulburn Murray clubs expressing strong interest in joining the competition and with a more local competition we hope that will encourage more clubs to get involved," Gleeson said.
"Therefore we expect a six to eight team Goulburn Murray competition in 2018 and with more Youth Girls teams also starting this will again show the growth and interest in female football participation."